Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period/Kao Chin

KAO Chin 高晉 (T. 昭德), 1707–1779, Feb. 25, specialist in river control, was a member of the Manchu Bordered Yellow Banner. He was the fourth son of Kao Pin's [q. v.] eldest brother, Kao Shu-ming 高述明 (T. 東瞻, d. 1723), a brigade-general in Liang-chou, Kansu. Beginning as a student in the Imperial Academy, Kao Chin was appointed magistrate of Ssŭ-shui (1735), and of Hai-yang (1735–39) in Shantung.

After filling such posts as department magistrate of Pin-chou, Shensi (1739–43); prefect of Yü-lin-fu, Shensi (1743); intendant of Yü-Chia Circuit, Shensi (1745); and intendant of Huai-Hsü Circuit, Kiangsu (1746); he was appointed supervisor of the Grand Canal in Shantung (1748) and provincial judge of the same province (1749); as well as lieutenant-governor (1750–55) and then governor (1755–61) of Anhwei. In 1757 he was ordered to participate in the construction of dikes along the old course of the Yellow River at Hsü-chou, Kiangsu. In 1761 he was made director-general of Grand Canal and Yellow River Conservancy in Kiangsu and Anhwei where he was successful in controlling floods that had damaged several districts, and in constructing dikes, floodgates, and small canals connecting lakes with streams and rivers. Thereafter he became senior assistant chamberlain of the Imperial Bodyguard (1762), Grand Tutor of the Heir Apparent (1763), and governor general of Liangkiang (Kiangnan and Kiangsi, 1765), a post he retained until his death. In 1771 he was made Grand Secretary and honorary president of the Board of Ceremonies. In 1776 he memorialized the throne concerning a plan to alter the old route of the Yellow River at Ch'ing-ho, Kiangsu, in order to prevent the river from flowing backward into the Hung-tsê Lake, as frequently occurred. He recommended the construction of a canal running northward from T'ao-chuang and then south to the original bed of the Yellow River at Chou-chia-chuang. The plan was carried out and the new canal (about 6 li in length, completed early in 1777), called T'ao-chuang i-pei hsin-ho 陶莊迤北新河, remained part of the Yellow River until 1852 when the river began to empty north of the Shantung promontory. In 1778 Kao Chin was sent to I-fêng, Honan, to repair the break in the Yellow River. A few months after the work was completed, however, the river again overflowed and he was dismissed, only to be later granted imperial pardon. He died at his work in I-fêng and was canonized as Wên-tuan 文端.

Three sons of Kao Chin attained to high governmental positions: Kao Shu-lin 高書麟 (T. 紱齋, d. 1801); Kao Kuang-hou 高廣厚 (d. 1815); and Kao Kuang-hsing 高廣興 (T. 賡虞, d. 1808). Kao Shu-lin was a military man who began his political career (1758) in the Imperial Equipage Department. He rose to deputy lieutenant-general of the Manchu garrison in Sian, Shensi (1771); governor of Anhwei (1784–87); governor-general of Liangkiang (1787–90, 1791–94); of Yün-Kuei (Yunnan and Kweichow, 1799–1800); and of Hu-kuang (Hunan and Hupeh, 1800–01); president of the Board of Civil Offices; lieutenant-general of the Chinese Plain Red Banner; associate Grand Secretary (1799–1801); and Grand Guardian of the Heir Apparent. On May 21, 1801, he died in battle in Hsiang-yang, Hupeh, while he was leading an army to suppress a local uprising. He was canonized as Wên-ch'in 文勤 and was granted posthumously the hereditary rank of baron.

Kao Kuang-hou was a chin-shih of 1788 who gained recognition in a campaign (1799–1800) to quell a local uprising in Kansu. Later he became governor of Anhwei (1810–11) and of Hunan (1811–15).

Kao Kuang-hsing was the twelfth son of Kao Chin. At the beginning of the Chia-ch'ing reign period, he won many favors from Emperor Jên-tsung, but later became reckless and boastful. In 1808 while acting as minister of the Imperial Household he was charged with dishonesty and extortion, and was condemned to death.


[1/316/10a; 1/349/1a, 2a; 1/361/2a; 3/25/25a; 3/31/30a; 3/191/29a; 33/47/8a; 清河縣志 Ch'ing-ho hsien-chih (1854) 1/11b maps, 5/11a; Kao Pin [q. v.], Ku-tsai ts'ao-t'ing chi (1762) 文集 1/10a.]

Man-kuei Li